8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan your Holiday Calendar

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: How to Plan Your Holiday Calendar

There are so many fun things to do throughout the Christmas season.  Gingerbread house making, caroling, Christmas plays, cookie exchanges, dinner parties, Christmas light looking, craft making and even holiday movie watching. There is so much to do, there may not be enough time to do it all!

Why won’t you be able to do everything you want to do?  Well, because there’s grocery shopping, laundry, dinner making and everyday life stuff that still has to happen!

This is where planning comes in really handy.  After all, life is busy, and it’ll be hard to get the fun things on the schedule if you don’t plan ahead.

Here are the steps to take if you want to do a lot of fun holiday things this year:

Grab your Calendar

First of all, grab your calendar and mark down all the things you know will be happening regardless of the holidays.  Doctor’s appointments, school activities, office parties…etc.

Talk as a Family

Next, you’ll want to gather the family to discuss all the activities each of you want to do.  Sledding? Cookie decorating party? Christmas play watching?  Brainstorm to your heart’s content.  Make sure to write down all the Christmas movies you want to watch and even the crafts you want to do. (I have a cool Holiday Bucket List included in the Holiday Planner that’s available in the Simply Frugal store that should come in handy!)

Prioritize

Since there are likely more ideas than time, take a look over the calendar again and plan for the activities you can realistically accomplish.  Even with the regular everyday life stuff added in.

Back to the Budget

Before you get carried away with grandiose plans, go back to your budget.  What did you allot for fun?  The case may be that you’ll have to save some activities for future years.

Fill in your Calendar

Now fill in your calendar with all the activities that you can set in stone. Buy those concert tickets and finalize plans with friends, then put them on the calendar.  Make sure to allow for some quiet nights/days at home!

Holiday activities are supposed to be fun so don’t stress about doing everything.  Just make a point of doing the things you want to do instead of wishing they would happen. Planning in advance will make the season more relaxing.

I’d love to know, what’s one thing you’ll be adding to your calendar this year?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Here are the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series so far:

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Plan Your Gift List

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: How to Plan Your Gift List

Here we are, week two of the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  I hope you had time to do last week’s task: your Holiday Budget!

While I’m fairly certain that many of you are striving to live daily life more simply in terms of less stuff, less waste and less expenses, this series is focusing on simplifying the process of Christmas.  Focusing on the organization aspect so that you don’t give too much of yourself in terms of finances or time.

Christmas can become a nuisance rather than a joyful, meaningful time if we’re constantly feeling stressed. This goes to say, I think the best way to have a more organized, more peaceful Christmas is to do your holiday tasks a little at a time. Tasks on our holiday to-do list can easily morph from fun to miserable when we’re too busy or wandering without a plan.

This week’s task is to plan your gift list.

It’s definitely not too early to plan your gift giving, especially if you plan on making some homemade gifts. Since you’ve hopefully planned your holiday budget already, you should know exactly how much money you have for gifts.

This week you should:

  • Write down all the names of the people you have to purchase gifts for
  • Add gift ideas for each person

Take a look at this year’s Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guides that are available!  I hope it will help you find a ton of great affordable gift ideas!

But for now, what’s the hardest part about gift giving for your family? What are your solutions?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Not only do I want a more organized Christmas season of my own, I'm hoping I can help you as well! Introducing... the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Create Your Holiday Budget

How to create your Christmas budget. Sit down with a hot drink and create your Christmas budget with these tips! #Christmasbudget #budgettips

Are you excited to work your way to a more organized Christmas?  Today marks the first day and task in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series that I hope will be super helpful to you!

Before we get started, I have a whole bunch of printables and checklists for you to print out to help you along:

Alright, on to the first task, an important one. 🙂 This week, if you haven’t already, sit down with a hot cup of tea, coffee, hot chocolate… and create your holiday budget.  This is what you think your holiday season will cost and will allow you to put limits on your holiday spending to keep you from shopping regrets if a credit card bill comes your way!

Related: How to Have a Merry Christmas Without Spending a Dime

Here is an extensive list of things you should keep in mind when you create your holiday budget:

Gifts:

  • spouse
  • kids
  • parents
  • siblings
  • nieces/nephews
  • grandparents
  • neighbors
  • coworkers
  • friends
  • secret Santa gift exchanges

Activities/Events/Parties:

  • tickets
  • dining out
  • clothing

Food (not including regular groceries):

  • baking ingredients
  • dessert ingredients
  • Christmas eve
  • Christmas dinner/brunch
  • Boxing day
  • parties

Cards:

  • stamps
  • cards/envelopes
  • stationary for family newsletter
  • photos

Clothing:

  • outfits for photos
  • parties
  • Christmas day outfit

Decorations:

  • tree
  • lights
  • ornaments/candles/wreath/etc.
  • craft supplies

Giving:

  • charities
  • volunteering

Now, these suggestions are just a guideline. Every family is different and has different needs. My intent is to bring to mind every possible thing that could incur an expense during the holiday season.  I’m sure many of you won’t even spend money on half of these things this year. Also, in my mind, the more planning you do, the more money you will save and the saner you will feel. 🙂

As for my family, we only buy gifts for immediate family and a couple of close friends. My husband and I only exchange stockings. I make some homemade gifts as well as collect credits throughout the year so I can do some online shopping for “free”. Of course, I search for deals too. I will probably buy a few inexpensive Christmas decorations this year. This year, I’m toying with the idea of having a cookie decorating party with the girls’ friends. I think that would be fun! As for any party that we are invited to, I like to bring some baking along.

But enough about us.  🙂

If after writing down your expenses, you’re scared of the number you see, you have two options: Decrease your expenses or increase your income.

Decrease your expenses

To make a happy holiday season, you really don’t need to spend a lot of money.  In fact, I’m daring to say, that being extravagant in your spending can be overwhelming not only to you, but the recipient as well. When I was a child, one set of grandparents used to be quite extreme in their gift giving.  It was SO exciting, but I remember being quite overwhelmed with all the gifts once Christmas was over.

Gift giving is probably the easiest expense to cut back on.  If you have a large extended family, consider drawing names so each member is only responsible for one gift.  Or do what our family does and only give gifts to the children.  My parents have also started to set a $20 limit on each other in recent years.  Jesse and I exchange stockings.

Setting a price limit on each gift will allow you to shop within that budget.  If your limit on sister Sue is $30, then that $50 purse is off limits.

It’s possible to decrease your food budget too by shopping the sales and limiting the baking and Christmas dishes you prepare.

When it comes to decorations, why not create some memories by making some homemade decorations?  (I’ll be featuring some ideas in a few weeks)  Or read my Fond, Frugal Christmas Memory post for a fun Christmas tree idea.

Increase your Income

If decreasing your holiday expenses is not an option, then consider increasing your income.  Many retailers hire for the holiday season (and may offer an employee discount!).

A couple of other ideas are to:

  • Sell extra baking to those that may not have much time to create their own.
  • Sell unwanted household items for cash (make room for new stuff too!)

What are your tips for staying on budget at Christmas time?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

Not only do I want a more organized Christmas season of my own, I'm hoping I can help you as well! Introducing... the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas

Not only do I want a more organized Christmas season of my own, I'm hoping I can help you as well! Introducing... the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!

This year, I’m on a mission.  Not only to have my own organized Christmas season, but I’m hoping I can help you as well!

Introducing… 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas!

Behind the scenes, I’m working on getting the Simply Frugal Holiday Gift Guides up and running, which I hope will help make your shopping easier and more frugal. But, I’m also hoping this series, 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas, will help you be more organized and spend less this Christmas season.

My goal with the series is to help guide you in making your Christmas season more manageable by providing you with a weekly task to help you get everything in order. I also find, the more organized I am, the less money I spend because I’m being more intentional!

There will be a ton of printables, checklists, articles full of tips and inspiring ideas to help you.

Since it’s called 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas, we’ll be getting started on Wednesday, October 30, because Christmas is then only 8 weeks away!  I’ll have the first post up with your first task.  Every following Wednesday, there will be a new post with a new task for you to focus on.

How does that sound?  Are you in?  Do you want a more organized Christmas? What do you struggle with the most each Christmas season?

Sign up for the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas newsletter to receive a FREE Christmas Dinner Checklist!  This checklist is quite detailed and will help you remember all the details needed for a memory filled dinner with family and friends. You’ll also receive a weekly email with each week’s “task”.

8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas: Get Your House Holiday Ready

Learn how to get your house holiday ready in no time flat with this free holiday cleaning checklist!

Can you believe we’re one week away from Christmas day?  Wow!  Time sure flies when you’re having fun! (or being busy?)  Since we’re one week away from Christmas, this also means we’ve reached the last week of the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series!  I sure hope you enjoyed it.  I also hope it helped you to have a more simple and manageable holiday season!

Christmas usually involves company and no one likes to show their guests a good time in a messy home.  So, today, I’ve got a free printable Get Your House Holiday Ready Checklist!  It includes suggestions of cleaning tasks to do each day leading up to Christmas day.  There’s even plenty of room for you to add your own tasks.  I kept it fairly simple, because really, who has time for crazy cleaning this time of year?

Remember, these are suggestions only!  Click on the image below or here to print your holiday cleaning list.

Holiday Ready Cleaning List

What tasks are on your holiday cleaning list?  Are you ready for Christmas?

Here are the rest of the posts in the 8 Weeks to a More Organized Christmas series: